Leaders of Britain’s biggest companies unfazed by possibility of Scottish independence

New analysis of Ipsos MORI's Captains of Industry survey shows only a minority of business leaders think Scottish independence poses a significant risk to their company.

The author(s)

  • Emily Gray Managing Director, Ipsos MORI Scotland
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Only a minority of Britain’s business leaders believe Scottish independence poses a significant risk to their company, according to Ipsos MORI’s annual ‘Captains of Industry’ survey.

  • Just 22% of leaders of Britain’s biggest businesses agree that ‘If Scotland became an independent country, it would be a significant risk to my company’, while 54% disagree. 21% are neutral or have no opinion, and 4% say they do not think Scotland will become independent.
  • 95% of business leaders are confident that “my company would adapt to the consequences if Scotland became an independent country”.
  • But most do not see independence as offering potential new opportunities – 72% disagree that “If Scotland became an independent country, it would bring significant new opportunities for my company”.

Emily Gray, Managing Director of Ipsos MORI Scotland, said:

With a Holyrood election looming and recent polls showing that public opinion has tipped in favour of Scottish independence, we are likely to see renewed debate about the economic implications of independence. This survey shows that the leaders of Britain’s biggest businesses are relatively relaxed about the potential implications of Scottish independence for their companies, viewing it as something they will adapt to if necessary.

Technical note

  • Findings are taken from Ipsos MORI’s 2020 study of Captains of Industry, widely acknowledged as the authoritative source of opinion on Britain's business elite
  • Participants are Chairmen, Chief Executive Officers, Managing Directors/Chief Operating Officers, Financial Directors or other executive board directors
  • Companies are from:
    • Top 500 industrials by turnover; and
    • Top 100 financial companies by capital employed
  • Fieldwork took place February – July 2020
  • 102 interviews were conducted – the majority were conducted by telephone/video conferencing due to COVID-19 (9 conducted face to face before lockdown)

The author(s)

  • Emily Gray Managing Director, Ipsos MORI Scotland

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